KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Three of the most important defensive players -- cornerback Marcus Peters, linebacker Justin Houston and safety Eric Berry -- were absent Tuesday as the Kansas City Chiefs began offseason practice.
Coach Andy Reid did not answer media questions Tuesday. Through a team spokesman, the Chiefs said little about the absences other than to note the practices are voluntary.
"Whenever those guys get here, we'll welcome them with open arms,'' wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said. "Clearly those are three big parts of our defense.
"I'm not in [any] place to question those guys or the motives behind anything they've got going on.''
Peters, Houston and Berry have been selected to play in a total of 11 Pro Bowl games. Peters and Berry were selected last season.
The three players are under contract for at least the next two seasons. Houston signed a long-term deal with the Chiefs in 2015, Berry last year. Peters has two seasons remaining on the contract he signed as Kansas City's first-round draft pick in 2015.
Neither Houston nor Berry has participated in offseason practice in either of the past two years. Houston was the Chiefs' unsigned franchise player during the 2015 offseason and was rehabbing after having knee surgery last year. Berry was going through cancer treatments in 2015 and was the unsigned franchise player last year.
The absence of Peters, who has 14 regular-season interceptions in his two NFL seasons, is more mysterious. Peters is scheduled to make $1.3 million next season, making him the 28th highest-paid cornerback in the NFL.
"They're vets,'' quarterback Alex Smith said. "They've all played at a really high level, and they're not here right now, and we've got to go. Certainly there will be times in the season when stuff like that happens, and the next guy's got to play.''
As for Berry, whom Smith is particularly close to, the quarterback said, "I know he's working. I know he'll come in ready to roll.''
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